AAPT gets PowerTel adrenaline shot

Telecom NZ's bid for PowerTel creates a significant new player in the Australian telecommunications market.

commentary Just 11 months ago, AAPT's employees must have been considering their career options and updating their resumes. The future looked grim.

Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
After all, the telco's owner Telecom New Zealand had just announced that AAPT chief executive Jon Stretch was "no longer required", and AAPT's new Kiwi bosses would only spend half of their time Down Under.

That news came a couple of months after Telecom New Zealand made it clear AAPT was for sale.

How the tables can turn in just a year.

Far from being an acquisition target, AAPT's fortunes are today looking up as Telecom New Zealand made a bid for local business and wholesale telco PowerTel.

Now the deal is yet to be approved by shareholders, and Telecom NZ has not detailed the operational implications for AAPT.

However, it can be assumed the move will result in a significant new player in the Australian telecommunications marketplace, as AAPT and PowerTel combine their considerable assets.

"It gives us the scope over time to bring more of our customers onto the combined access network rather than servicing them through wholesale arrangements," Telecom NZ's chief financial officer and part-time AAPT boss Marko Bogoievski said in a statement this morning.

And it's not just PowerTel's direct assets that are in play.

Telecom New Zealand will now gain direct access to iiNet's extensive ADSL2+ broadband network, through PowerTel's exclusive wholesale arrangement with the Perth-based upstart telco. PowerTel also has a holding in business telco Macquarie Telecom.

With its purchase, Telecom New Zealand will have the chance to take the fight to the giants who have long dominated Australia's telecommunications landscape; namely Telstra and Optus.

And fair enough. After all, Telecom is facing invasion in New Zealand from the Kiwi divisions of Telstra, Vodafone and others. How better then to address that threat than to push back? After all, you don't have to be Sun Tzu to know that in war, one of the best defences is a good offence.

What do you think about Telecom New Zealand's plan to buy PowerTel? Great idea or throwing good money after bad? Post your feedback below this article or drop me a line directly at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au.

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